Conquest of Space - skill development project which also included improving leadership skills of Chess Team Captains

‘Excellence is not a Skill but an Attitude’… This is a well known quote which describes the power of attitude in a very strong manner. So with keeping this idea in mind we launched our project ‘Conquest of Space’ with the theme ‘From Advanced to Mastered’. Participating in a sport is really good and being selected to a team and playing in a team is extremely a great achievement. But only few players get this chance to play for a team. But we have seen it many times that the best teams get lost though the best players play for the team. This reminds us all, just how important an attitude is, than a skill. So the priority should be given to improve the attitude of the team rather than improving skills as they inherited them with practice. So we decided to bring this project to such a team where talented players included in, and where success can be achieved by changing their attitude and making them confident to win. ‘CONQUEST OF SPACE’ was not only another child education or sports project. It was also a skill development project which also included improving leadership skills of Chess Team Captains in different age levels. Because it’s a sport which develops individual performances by working as a team and where team work strategies are highly appreciable.

The main objective was to recognize the best and most influential players of a team and encourage them to raise their performances along with the team, and also to make their attitude to become a mastered. Improving leadership skills of Chess Team Captains was another purpose.

This special project was conducted for advanced school chess players who had represented in All Island Inter school chess tournaments and also awarded by ‘Board Prices’ in recent years. First, we asked Mr. Nishantha Bandara – Teacher in charge of Sports – BMMV, to provide us a list of chess players who are already playing for the school team and who had showed special performances in this sport so far. Then he gave us a list of 28 students who contributed in winning the Uva Province Chess Championship in year 2011. They are from the teams, Under 15 and Under 19 (Boys/Girls), 7 in each team including 1 reserve player.

Then we moved on to a discussion with the Chess team of University of Moratuwa regarding the procedure of the program and the possibilities to use more resources to make this project more beneficial to many of the players. In the special board meeting hold regarding this project, it was proposed to donate some sports accessories to the school. One suggestion raised that it should be a set of books on Chess, and another was to donate a chess clock. However we ended up with the decision to donate three chess mats of a quality brand with sets of chess pieces. Because we thought it would be the most beneficial addition to the school chess club.

Some of the sessions were carried on in school multimedia unit and all the players who participated in the event were given the opportunity to learn and practice modern chess software. Several multimedia presentations had arranged to improve their interest and knowledge about chess. And also we made them aware on tips and important notifications on using Shredder Classic 4 chess software. We mainly focused on how to implement leadership and teamwork skills inside the team and improve individual performances.

There was another time slot allocated for the chess quiz. In the Quiz Competition some end game puzzles were given to the students and they were really enthusiastic in making solutions for them.

However among number of correct solutions the best three solutions with correct recording notes were selected and those students got the chance to receive the donations on behalf of the school.
Winners :

  • Hasitha Dilshan
  • Mahela Dilshan
  • Ravindu Mahela

The final session was the Prize giving and handing over the donations to the school. The prize giving was chaired by the Chief Guest, Mr. Nishantha Bandara. It became the closing ceremony of ‘Conquest of Space’ and the Chief Guest addressed the gathering and he appreciated this contribution of UoM Leos in developing chess in his school and he made a request to organize this event in another time as it reached the maximum level of Success… Leo Naveen, the President while addressing the occasion didn’t forget to thank everyone for the support rendered beyond their comfort zones to make this endeavor a SUCCESS.

" SILENT MOVES " - The Ultimate CHESS Coaching Camp

“If you are not big enough to lose, you are not big enough to win”………………....

Chess.., it’s a game of two players, sometimes a battle of Titans and also it becomes a conflict of two minds in another time. However in all the times it’s an Art of Thinking… As it’s mentioned above, there’s something to learn in every game and it’s correctly said that selecting the best path makes the victory yours at the end. This is ‘Chess’ in brief as a game. Among all the other sports, chess is an Art which can be touched only by concentrated minds. It doesn’t matter who we are, the most important thing we should have to make anything a success is the concentration of our minds. So not like other ordinary sports, chess can be called as a universal sport which is kept open for all ages from little kids to old gentlemen. And by time it makes up their minds as it was never before. So as Leo Club of University of Moratuwa with lots of resources not only in academics but also in sports, we decided to come up with a project to become a helping hand to someone to develop this Art of thinking…

It came up with a tiny little name ‘SILENT MOVES’ as it means.

As soon as we confirmed the date it was the time to start advertising….Our fellow Leos were informed about the project through e-mails, face book event notifications and students of the school were got to know about the project by posters displayed on college notice board. And we designed a digital printed banner to display on that day. The main purpose of it was to give an idea about the organizing hand and Leoism to school students, their parents as well as the other participants


As it’s mentioned above the main objective of the project was to become a helping hand to someone in developing skills and improving knowledge in chess and also let them to share experiences with national level players who have excelled in national and international tournaments. We believe this project became a great opportunity not only for the other participants but also for our fellow Leos to have the same benefits. In another way it became a nice experience for all of us as the selected project location was far away from the university. So it made a great time and opportunity for us to discuss our future projects in free minds with being apart from our regular busy schedule…

An event like this cannot happen overnight; it needed an organizing structure and a scheduled time plan since this was a joint project done by UoM Leos in collaboration with university chess team and chess club of Bandarawela Central College. We wanted to have some projects with novel themes for the current Leoistic year. So several ideas were raised under sports projects from our fellow Leos and it was highlighted the importance of doing a children education project along with a leadership and skill enhancement project. In our monthly board meeting chaired by the president this idea about a chess coaching camp was came out and all the members raised their thumbs up to do this project.

Then the matter was to decide to whom we should bring this project. Lots of ideas were proposed and the final decision was to bring this project to Bandarawela Central College. There are several reasons for the above selection. Bandarawela Central College is a well known school for Chess in ‘Uva Province’ as they are the champions in recent years. But unlike in other schools no workshops or coaching camps were held in last few years in improving chess. So we thought those students are the most suited ones to deserve the benefits of this Silent but Strong movement.

On 1st of October, Saturday morning our fellow Leos with four members of UoM chess team including our club president and present captain of chess team started the journey to Bandarwela with a great purpose having in our mind. By the evening we reached to Bandarawela and stayed in the circuit bungalow as arranged before. Being apart from the busy regular life, it was a nice place to discuss and to collect ideas about the next day proceedings and our future Leo projects…

It was a day of hopes…, in every single commitment we completed everyone wanted to bring them to a successful end. The coaching camp was scheduled to begin at 8.00 am, and when we reached there, a lot of students had arrived to the place for participating in this event which was going to be an unforgettable experience to those little kids. First of all we were warmly welcomed by the vice principal with school staff. It is really appreciated that they had taken a great effort in organizing this event.

First, all the students were divided into three groups by considering their level under beginner, intermediate and advanced categories. Then the coaching camp was carried on the following guide lines and mainly focused on them.

  • Opening as white and black and opening methods
  • English Opening
  • Ruy Lopez
  • Sicilian Defence
  • King’s Gambit
  • Queen’s Gambit etc…

  • Different methods of mating with Queen, two Rooks, single Rook, two Bishops
  • Basic middle game and endgame strategies
  • Simple tactics and special moves
  • Recording games and using a chess clock
  • How to organize and select the board order of the team

The coaching camp was conducted as four sessions and after two sessions, all the participants were given refreshments and after an interval all the students gathered again for the next session which includes the latter part of the above program.The coaching camp was successfully completed and the most valuable achievement was the

feedback notes given by those little chess players. We as Leo Club of University of Moratuwa are really proud to organize such an event which will contribute in making those little minds into master minds to become international chess champions one day….


Mr. M M Wimalasekara – Principal – Bandarawela M M V

Mrs. Sunethra Malawana – Vice Principal

Mr. Nishantha Bandara – Teacher in charge of Physical Education

Chess Team - University of Moratuwa

Leo Themiya for his commitment in video production and graphic designing

Leo Ishara, Leo Navin, Leo Tharanga and Leo Raveen for their enormous cooperation


Sri Lanka is a leading country in South Asian Region for having satisfactory level of ICT education with modern computer and internet facilities available for most of the schools. With the help of government and non-government organizations lots of programs and projects have been launched to develop ICT facilities in schools. But the existing problem is that in most of the schools a teacher in-charge of ICT education is not available. This fact has caused in many problems while maintaining and repairing these computers and other network accessories.

Leo Club of University of Moratuwa is occupied with many talented individuals with a sound knowledge in the field of computer hardware, software and network. So we decided to extend our hands to help one of those schools with some computers available, which are out of use due to the above reason. Then we came up with the project “Set them up to Get them connected” to help one of those schools.

Project In Brief…

Assembling computer hardware

Refurbishing PC application software environment

Installing default drivers for hardware adapters/peripherals

Setting up and troubleshooting LAN configuration

Project description

Most of the Leos in our club are specialized in the field of computer science. Therefore we had an idea to come up with a technology based project and help someone in need. So we proposed this project in the board meeting and it was selected with very good feedbacks.

Though we wanted to do this as a continuous project in schools in remote areas, as a beginning and considering the time available, we decided to launch the first step as soon as possible. The very first task was to select a school. There were some suggestions raised from our fellow Leos and finally we decided to select Katubedda Bodhiraja Vidyalaya for this project. Because there was a request from that school to help them in refurbishing their computers and other network accessories as we are taking part in a project to teach IT for ordinary level students in that school.

As the first step we met Mr. Mahinda Lal, Principal of the school on 21st of September and we informed him about the project. Then we arranged a date and a time after a discussion with the principal. He was really obliged about coming up with such a project to his school as a lot of students were waiting to use computers and to surf internet, but they weren’t given a chance for a long time .

We launched our project on 26th of September. On that day we went there with some tools to assemble the computers and a software/driver collection. First we were taken to the computer lab of the school and when we reached there, only some desks and chairs could be seen in the room. Then we get the computers out and check their conditions. Most of them needed a reassembling of the components with necessary replacements. Finally we were able to fix computers and printers to a reasonable level with some replacements.

Our next task was to refurbish PC application software environment and to install default drivers for hardware adapters/peripherals including driver installation for printers and other accessories. Some of those printers were old and bulky ones. So finding drivers for them became little bit difficult. Our final step of the project was to implement standard network topology among the computers available, to set up LAN configuration of computers (IP, DNS, default gateway etc…) and to troubleshoot network problems occurred. Finally we make the IT laboratory of the school a useful and a regularly available one which was neglected and out of use for a long time before we launched the project.

Special Thanks

Mr. Mahinda Lal – The Principal, Bodhiraja Vidyalaya, Katubedda
The creativeness of an image basically depends on the creativity of the photographer. We all take photos in different kind of events, trips, parties,.etc. But a few of us knows about how to take a creative photograph by using the different kind of photographic techniques. Photography has a wide range of techniques with helps to the photographer to make a creative photograph. So Leo Club of University of Moratuwa was decided to hold a work shop on photography for the undergraduates of the university which is totally different from the academic work. Basically these are the main objectives of this work shop,
  • Aware the undergraduates about the basics of the photography.
  • Practically use of them by thinking out of the box.
  • Improving the hidden creativity of them.
  • Reduce the stress with academic load by changing their minds.

We conducted this work shop in 29th September 2011 from 5 p.m to 8 p.m at our Lecture Room. For this session, we especially invited a person who is our senior undergraduate, an active Leo member and also a person who has a very creative eye on photography. He is Leo Isuru Bogoda.
Basically he gained lot of knowledge of photography by his own experience. He had own collection of hundreds of photos which shows his own talent of photography.

We began the work shop with a large number of participants which we have never expected. Most of members were new to photography. Therefore we told them lot of things about cameras and give them chance to capture.
Basically in this session is covered,
  • Golden Rule of Photography
  • Important of Aperture
  • Effect of shutter speed to the image
We all try to give knowledge and practical experience to every participant with using SLR (Single Lens Reflexes) camera. Leo Isuru Bogoda describe the golden rule of photography with the mathematically explanation of it. According to him, the image which we took, has more creativeness by taking it be on that rule. In our eye, we regulate the amount of light that reaches our retina with the pupil, the round opening in the iris that gets larger or smaller. With a camera we have two devices to regulate the amount of light. They are,
  • Aperture
  • Shutter
By changing above two devices, we can take the photographs according to the situation. All the participant got chance to take photographs by using above techniques. It was very valuable experience to them to identify the practical usage of those. And it helped them to compare the different situations of aperture and shutter control. Within the first hour, Leo Isuru completed the theoretical part of above three categories and second hour was allocated for the practical usage of those techniques.
Everyone contributed this practical session with their own commitment and they asked lot of questions from Leo Isuru during that time. After the work shop, everyone praised us for organizing this kind of event. They also told that they learnt lot about photography and this session made them to learn more about photography. They tried to use this knowledge practically. Most of participants were requested us to do this kind of workshop in every month.

RISE AND SMILE.. - A helping hand for O/L students

As there only two month left for the GCE ordinary level exams we, LEOs of leo club of university of moratuwa decided to give a helping hand to students who do not have a teacher for ICT subject. so we chose bodhiraja vidyalaya for our project. since those students do not have the knowledge about the subject we decided to conduct some classes for two months. one day for each week at 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm.

  • Teach students the missing parts of the IT subject.
  • Reduce their pressure for the exam.
  • Motivate the students to face the exam in a comfortable manner.
  • Motivate students to carry out their careers towards higher education.
  • Give them an idea about Leoism.
  • Teach them about the world they are going to step into, the challenges they have to face and the knowledge the world heavily depends on.

First we did a small research about lack of teachers in schools for various subjects. Then we came to know that Bodhiraja Vidyalaya does not have a teacher for ICT subject and there are students who will sit for ICT exam in O/L 2011. Without a teacher those students do not have any knowledge about ICT subject. So we decided to conduct a series of programs to teach them the subject and give them the confidence.

As the project goes for at least two months we decided to do the programs in shift. As usual many Leos agreed to give their support. Chathura Gamage and Ujitha Iroshan have done the first program. In the programs we offered students to do some group activities and also the practical according to the ICT subject and it helps to students to get more familiar with the subject and the computers.

We had a great time with the students and we shared our experience with them and students were very happy with the program and gave us satisfaction.